Top Ten Best Board Games for Newbies

Top Ten Best Board Games for Newbies

Let's face it, it can be extremely difficult to get someone properly introduced to the board game hobby and there's a high risk of providing an initial experience that spoils any future prospects of your friend(s) returning to the game table. So let's talk about how to properly introduce someone to their first board game (or any new game for that matter).

Here are some things you should keep in mind before picking out a game to start someone off in:

  1. Know The Rules Inside & Out! Yes, this is the number one turn off for anyone one learning a game. If you think you'll have to be referring to the rule book at all during gameplay, skip it until your know the game EXTREMELY well.
  2. Don't Crush The Newbie. Yes, we all know how good it feels to annihilate your opponents, but if someone who is brand new to the hobby and needs to develop their strategy-building skills, getting blown out of the water is not going to entice them to come back for more. Remember board games need to be fun, so make it fun for your newbies
  3. Pick The Right Game/Genre. Think about your end goal while selecting your game. Are you wanting to play more advanced Euro Games like Agricola or Co-Op games like Pandemic Legacy? Selecting the right genre of game that either matches your end goal or what you feel your newbie will be interested is very important.  In our list we will be covering all sorts of genres and we'll be sure to call them out.

Ok, lets get into our top best board games for newbies. We recommend that you focus more on the mechanics each board games introduces in this list rather than the numerical position as ultimately the type of gameplay is going to drive your decision on what you a bringing to the table. Enjoy!

10. Best Board Game For Newbies

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Sushi Go Party!

INTRODUCES: Card Drafting

Sushi Go Party is an excellent game for beginners because it has a good mix of strategy and luck combined. You can play up to 8 players which makes it a great easy group game.  

Sushi Go Party is a card drafting game where each player looks through a stack of cards, picks one, and passes it to the player to their left. Players try to select card combinations that will score them the most points at the end of three rounds. This is a great introduction to card drafting mechanics and prepares players to play more advanced games like Dominion and 7 Wonders.

09. Best Board Game For Newbies

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Sheriff of Nottingham


Sheriff of Nottingham is a smuggling game where each player is attempting to smuggle valuable contraband past the Sheriff. Each player will verbally provide the sheriff with the inventory of goods they are trying to deliver and the sheriff will decide whether or not he/she wants to waste time inspecting the goods. The players can choose to bribe the sheriff with a little money in order to "expedite" the inventory-checking process.

Sheriff of Nottingham is a great and fun way to introduce the concepts of resource management and bluffing mechanics. These are excellent mechanics to understand before venturing into more complicated games.

08. Best Board Game For Newbies

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Forbidden Island

INTRODUCES: Co-operative play

In Forbidden Island all players are working as a team to explore an island that is quickly sinking! Players must split up to collect all four precious relics and get back to their helicopter before the entire island sinks into the ocean. Forbidden Island does a great job of introducing players to the mechanics of action taking and using special abilities to assist others.

This is a great introduction into the co-op genre, especially if you are looking to eventually play a more advanced co-op game such as Pandemic.

07. Best Board Game For Newbies



INTRODUCES: Co-op/deduction

Hanabi is an excellent co-op communication game where you will be relying on information provided by other players to influence your turn. Hanabi is a card game where you work as a team to play your cards in a specific order. The catch is you can't see any of the cards in your hand and need to piece together vague clues your teammates provide you to determine which cards to lay down.

Hanabi is an excellent game to introduce newbies because it's easy to learn and it's 'unknown hand" mechanic is really fun to play with and provides a truly unique gameplay experience. 

06. Best Board Game For Newbies

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Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

INTRODUCES: Social Deduction

In the this game, players take on the roles of investigators attempting to solve a murder case – but there's a twist....the killer and possibly an accomplice are on the investigative team! While the Investigators attempt to deduce the truth, the folks involved in the murder must deceive and mislead, leading the investigators down a rabbit hole.

Deception is an excellent game for 4 to 12 players and an excellent choice for newbies. It's a great social game of deduction and deception. This game is very easy to learn and to teach. It is a great game of interaction, easy to get people involved, and so much fun to play!


05. Best Board Game For Newbies

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Ticket To Ride


Ticket to Ride places players back in the early 1900s where they are tasked with obtaining a portfolio of valuable train routes across America. Players are given route cards that connect two cities and they must work to collect enough train cards to be the first to control various routes across the board.

Ticket to Ride is a great introduction to euro-styled games because it is easy to teach and gets players thinking about various strategic conceptions that are necessary in order to play more complex euro games.

04. Best Board Game For Newbies

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Codenames Pictures

INTRODUCES: Team Play/Deduction

Codenames is currently our favorite party-style game and we have never met anyone who didn't love this game immediately.

In Codenames, there are two teams and each team has a clue giver that is tasked to get their teammates to guess specific cards that are laid out on the board. The catch is the clue-giver can only say a single word followed by a number indicating the amount of cards the clue is associated with.

This is a great game that anyone can play and pick up on the strategic elements right away. We recommend the Pictures versions over the original version as we have found it to me easier for newbies to process the cards as a clue-giver. 

03. Best Board Game For Newbies



INTRODUCES: Resource Managment

Settlers of Catan is indeed a classic and allowed the genre of Euro games to grow exponentially into what it is today. Catan is a perfect game to introduce folks new to board gaming and gives a diverse taste of different game mechanics. Not only is there strategic thinking that goes into playing this game, there is also strategic interactions (mind games if you will) that can play a vital part in contributing to a victory...and may contribute to a quarrel or two after the game has ended.

It's a must have game for your collection as it is a very easy Euro Game to teach others who are new to the board game hobby.

02. Best Board Game For Newbies

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King of Tokyo

INTRODUCES: Dice Comtemplation

King of Tokyo is a great introductory game that is fun for all ages! The monster concept draws in both adults and children. Also, everyone loves the Yahtzee like mechanic with rolling three times and choosing the best combos. King of Tokyo is one of the best games out there because it pack so much gameplay within thirty minutes or less. 

King of Tokyo is a great gateway game if you are wanting to eventually introduce more advanced dice attacking games.

01. Best Board Game For Newbies

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INTRODUCES: Card Drafting, Engine Building

Splendor is an great gateway game because it teaches some of the core mechanics of modern board gaming and is relatively easy to teach. 

In Splendor each player accumulates gems in order to purchase cards that provide even more gemstones. The goal is to build an engine that will produce enough gems to reach a targeted VP level. Splendor is a great introduction into both card drafting and engine building which are mechanics that are used quite often in many popular board games.

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island

Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye